One of the cornerstones of the Affordable Care Act are the mandates which force health insurance companies to take customers with pre-existing conditions – health problems that represent a definitive expense for the extortionist insurance industry. Before the ACA, people were forced to pay outrageous amounts of money for the healthcare they desperately need. The new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI), thinks the country would be better off if we went back to those days.
On Wednesday, the Ayn Rand disciple called for an end to the pre-existing condition mandate because it raises health costs for other consumers and “undermining choice and competition.” Ryan, who just happens to have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the health insurance industry, said that “less than 10 percent of people under 65 are what we call people with pre-existing conditions, who are really kind of uninsurable…“Let’s fund risk pools at the state level to subsidize their coverage, so that they can get affordable coverage. You dramatically lower the price for everybody else. You make health insurance so much more affordable, so much more competitive and open up competition.”
His statements say volumes about the way that Republicans view our health and our lives – as merely a commodity to be bought and sold to the highest bidder, with no regard to the fact that these are the American people’s lives at stake. But Ryan’s determination to install Kochian free-market fascism in the United States has little room for the feelings of plebs.
It appears that this idea of a state-run “high risk” pool is going to become a major part of the right-wing’s alternative the Affordable Care Act, which they’re finally starting to piece together after eight years of trying nonstop to repeal President Obama’s landmark health bill. High risk pools, however, are much more expensive to operate and purchase than individual health insurance plans and offer much less than “optimal” coverage.
In other words, Paul Ryan would like to throw sick Americans back to the wolves in the name of the free market, making it acceptable for health insurance companies to discriminate against people suffering from pre-existing conditions. It’s just a smokescreen to hide the fact that after years of lies about Obamacare and fifty-four attempts to repeal it, the Republican Party still has no meaningful alternative – but still somehow can’t stand to see the American people get the healthcare they need.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.